Deadshirt Is Listening… Bringing you a rundown of our staff and guest contributors’ favorite new tracks released in the past week after they’ve had the weekend to blast them in their cars, in a club, alone in their rooms, etc.
Dominic Griffin is recovering to…
Sam Smith & Disclosure
“Hotline Bling (Drake Cover)”
Drake’s throwaway b-side “Hotline Bling” has been a real sleeper throughout the end of the summer, striking a strange balance between overt lament and a cotton candy lightness of being. Sure, he seems frustrated about this girl moving on, but the entire track is so bubbly that Drake’s relative sadness isn’t really much of a concern. Luckily, Sam Smith is here to sad the shit out of it for this BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge cover, teaming with Disclosure as the reigning Trios Champs of dance-y feels. Their interpretation has a choppier, stuttery groove that inspires more hip-ward motion than the original, but the contrast between their welcome sonic additions and Smith’s wilted, withering delivery is really fascinating. It’s like taking your friend out to the club after he’s been dumped and everyone around him is hype to the Nth degree, trying to cheer him up, but he still sounds like he might burst into tears at any time. Smith out-Drakes Drake here, which is fine, since Aubrey is so much more concerned with being tough and cool now. Someone’s gotta do the crying around here.
While Rozay’s biggest strength has always been luxuriating over expensive sounding instrumentals (blinged out movie scores ripe for drug talk and stunt dialogue), he’s spent an awful lot of time the last couple of years trying to recapture the magic of “B.M.F. (Blowin’ Money Fast)” with its chaotic, trunk rattling trap aesthetic. It’s never quite fit him the way he seems to want it to, so his recent free album Black Dollar’s return to prestige, silky smooth form was a welcome paradigm shift. This Soundcloud freebie feels like a happy medium between the two dueling styles, a straightforward sprint of casual braggadocio over a hard, but unobtrusive track from Jahlil Beats. For the first time in awhile, Ross is making it sound effortless.
Joe Stando is feeling at home with…
The World is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die
Jammy, shoegazey bands are pretty much the main flavor of the indie scene in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where I lived for a few years. Any given Friday or Saturday night you can go to someone’s unfinished basement and listen to some repetitive, drum and bass heavy band by Christmas lights. The World is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die is popular among this crowd, mainly because they do that kind of thing, but really well, and with other aspects the locals forget to include.
Their new track, “Wendover,” starts out poppy and sort of conventional, but with strong, introspective vocals. As it runs, though, it becomes more musically frantic and intense, before cutting abruptly at the end. It’s an interesting dichotomy, and one that requires both parts to be on point to work. It doesn’t overindulge in quick or droning basslines at the end, and the early verses are key in establishing the sound before the turn. It’s the kind of cleverness I like about The World is…, and one that smaller artists attempting the genre could learn from. You have to know the rules before you can break them.
Mike Duquette is furiously air-drumming to…
“I Know There’s Something Going On (Lindstrøm Remix)”
My love for Something’s Going On, the 1982 masterpiece performed by ABBA co-frontwoman Anni-Frid “Frida” Lyngstad and produced by drummer/proto-trap god Phil Collins, is known. So known, that I wrote a Perfect Records column about it. As such, I’d be a fool not to showcase a new remix of one of the best under-the-radar hits of the decade (No. 12 on Billboard, sucka!).
Lindstrøm, the Norwegian producer/remixer who’s reorganized tracks for Best Coast, Grizzly Bear, and HAIM, gets the tone of the original track—frustrated, borderline-sinister end of the romance—absolutely right while making it his own. Frida’s echoing howl is couched in brooding, jet-propelled synth swirls and an aptly re-chopped version of Collins’ original drum track, stripped of its familiar Hugh Padgham-engineered reverb. A mid-mix reprise of Daryl Stuermer’s twisty guitar solo is the cherry on top of this newly-recreated sundae.
Julian Ames is hiding behind sunglasses to…
“Scenes From A Midnight Movie”
Anonymity can sometimes be great for new artists: if the music’s good, it builds a mystique that will get people intrigued. Blood Cultures is about as anonymous as it gets—there’s no bio anywhere, he or they haven’t tweeted anything or posted on Facebook, the webpage is blank—the only biographical information is the New Jersey location on Soundcloud and Bandcamp. Blood Cultures dropped a pretty groovy track called “Indian Summer” to Soundcloud back in October 2013, and now, almost two full years later he (they?) returns with “Scenes From A Midnight Movie.” Musically, Blood Cultures’ style is chilled out synthpop; if the term “chillwave” is still valid, it’d fall under that category. It’s a shame “Scenes” wasn’t released a month or two ago, the simmering reverb on the vocals and bright synths gives it a sit-by-the-pool kind of vibe. The song ends with somebody, presumably the main guy in Blood Cultures leaving a happy birthday voicemail message. Maybe Blood Cultures is somebody’s pet project, but if it is somebody’s attempt at starting a career (which I hope it is), then we better start getting songs more frequently, because anonymity can be a great tool for buzz, but only if there’s more than one song every year or two.
“L.A. Plays Itself”
I Thought The Future Would Be Cooler
I can already tell that the new YACHT album, I Thought The Future Would Be Cooler, is going to be (fire emoji). While most of the rhetoric surrounding the album seems to be cynicism regarding modern technology and society (as you can see in their Buzzfeed listicle), the actual music is great. The first single off the record, the title track “I Thought The Future Would Be Cooler” had a very old-school disco vibe. This new single, “L.A. Plays Itself,” has a totally different vibe: the bass is heavier and funkier, the use of sampling and repeating singer Claire L. Evans’ voice in spots makes it feel much more modern. While it’s rife with clever lyrics like “through tinted windows baby/can’t read the writing on the wall,” the general “LA is shallow and self-obsessed” sentiment is old-hat at this point, but like I said, I’m here for the music. Anyway I think this song is (money emoji) and can’t wait for the full album on October 16th.